Retail Ireland, the Ibec group the represents the retail sector, has called for a range of measures in Budget 2022 to relaunch the economic and social life of town and city centres nationwide.

In its Budget submission today, the group also said that major recruitment problems are causing serious difficulties to business trying to overcome Covid and Brexit disruption.

Retail Ireland said that next week's budget should ensure that the operation of the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) and debt warehousing scheme puts retail businesses on sustainable growth path, while arbitration for rent disputes must also be incentivised.

It has also urges a concerted effort to reinvigorate the country's urban centres post Covid.

"Government must launch an ambitious Experience Economy strategy and focus on fostering attractive and vibrant urban centres through policies such as the Town Centre First initiative. A concerted effort is also needed to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour," Retail Ireland said.

The group also said that labour supply challenges must be addressed in Budget 2022.

It noted that emerging acute labour market shortages across the retail sector must be actively addressed, while further steps need to be taken to support workers moving from the Pandemic Unemployment Payment into employment.

In today's submission, the Ibec group said that business costs here must be kept in line with similar EU economies.

"The nature and timing of new labour market reforms must take account of the cost and impact that they will have on businesses, particularly SMEs," it added.

Retail Ireland Director Arnold Dillon said that while overall the retail sector is bouncing back, major challenges remain.

"Key retail districts remain quiet due to an absence of office workers and tourists. At the same time, businesses trying to recover are finding it difficult to recruit staff. Bedding down the recovery and ensuring a smooth Christmas trading period must be a key government priority," Mr Dillon added.